By Ryan McCarthy
A change in grading policy that a teachers representative said would instruct students that they face no assignment deadlines has been tabled by Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees.
Nancy Dunn, president of the Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association, said the proposal would allow students to get full credit for work turned in the last day of a grading period.
Dunn also told school district trustees on Thursday that the proposed revisions to the policy effects teacher workload and require negotiation.
Source: Grading change doesn’t pass Fairfield-Suisun teachers test
By Susan Hiland
Briana Arbaca-Cervantes, a senior from Fairfield High School, will spend her summer navigating the nonprofit sector.
She was awarded a paid internship through a partnership between Bank of America’s Student Leaders Program and Junior Achievement, and will work on building her workforce and leadership skills.
The Junior Achivement is a volunteer-delivered, kindergarten through 12th-grade program to foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential.
Source: Good news: Fairfield student building leadership skills
By Danny Wagner
Healthy communication is vital to thriving workplace communities, and it’s essential for effective collaborative classrooms as well. Knowing when and how to express yourself, recognizing nonverbal cues, and being able to discern what’s important when someone speaks can be key factors in building interpersonal relationships. By practicing communication skills, students will get better at asking for help and expressing what they need, and over time they will develop the skills and confidence to tell you more clearly what they’ve learned in class.
In STEM fields, empathetic communication is a fundamental ingredient for success. Whether you’re a healthcare professional or a programmer, you must be able to take highly technical knowledge and describe it in a clear and simple way for others. If students learn to express ideas in a persuasive way and respond gracefully to reactions to their opinions, they’ll be able to promote innovation and social change through fields like bioengineering or video game design. You may not be able to see the outcomes of bolstering students’ communication right away, but the transfer to real-world situations will one day be undeniable.
Source: 4 Tools to Boost Communication Skills in the STEM Classroom | MindShift | KQED News
Educators in states across the country are seeing that current immigration policy changes are leading to increased chronic absence. As a way to reassure parents and students that school is a safe place for learning, states, districts and schools have posted resources as a way to encourage immigrant students to continue getting to school every day. We’ve complied a few for you.
Resources range from letters sent to school communities and families reaffirming anti-discrimination polices, to toolkits with tips for dealing with anxious students, to videos for parents on how to communicate with their young children on topics that are particularly difficult to tackle, such as bullying. Watch this video, in Spanish with English subtitles, from Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors.
Many districts offer fact sheets with answers to questions such as, ‘What impact does undocumented immigration status have on my child’s education?’ and ‘If I am a parent or guardian and I am worried about being detained while my child is at school, what should I do?’
Source: Educators respond to immigration policies – Attendance Works Attendance Works
By Richard Bammer
The familiar melody of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” seeped out of speakers, and, hearing it, Dahmesa Bennett wanted to cry.
But she held back her tears and marched down, with 19 classmates behind her, into the Catwalk Theatre at Will C. Wood High to take her place on the low-lit stage.
As the students walked, more than 200 people in an audience of excited parents, relatives and friends stood up, bursting into cheers, applause, shouts, smartphones in hand, marking the beginning of Vacaville Unified’s 2017 summer school graduation ceremony Thursday afternoon.
Source: A journey ends, another begins
By Ryan McCarthy
Out-of-state recruitment trips led to the Fairfield-Suisun School District hiring 18 new teachers, Assistant Superintendent Rob Martinez said.
Six trips in March and April to New Mexico, Michigan, Oregon, Montana and twice to Colorado cost the school district $25,419, according to a report that went before trustees Thursday.
Trustee Chris Wilson asked about the number of teachers hired because of the trips.
Source: 18 teachers hired after out-of-state recruitment
By Ryan McCarthy
A request to dedicate a bench in front of the Armijo High School library in honor of Andrew Lucas, a student who died in a 2015 car crash along Waterman Boulevard, won approval Thursday by Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees.
Lucas’ friends created the club called “Andrew’s Bookshelf” that sends high school students to elementary schools to read to students. The club will cover costs for the bench in front of the library – Lucas’ favorite place on campus – to honor their friend.
“He was an exceptional student who participated in band and athletics at Armijo High School. He would have graduated June 2017,” wrote student Alex Peppard.
Source: Bench at Armijo High library will honor Andrew Lucas
By Thomas Arnett
If you’ve followed the K–12 education dialogue over the last decade, then you’re probably familiar with the term “disruptive innovation.” Edtech entrepreneurs and school choice advocates sometimes invoke it as an indomitable force that will redeem and transform broken school systems. Meanwhile, people on the other sides of these debates worry that “disruption” is a flawed yet rhetorically powerful narrative used to rationalize K–12 privatization. Somewhere in the middle are skeptics who give consideration to the idea, but wonder if disruption is an oversold term that is likely to underdeliver on its proponents’ promises.
So how do we make sense of the tumult of opinions? What is disruptive innovation and is it relevant in the current debates about K–12 education?
In the mid-1990s, Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen coined the term “disruptive innovation” to describe how large and well-resourced industry incumbents like U.S. Steel and RCA were toppled by upstarts like Nucor and Sony. Christensen’s 1997 best-selling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, articulated a theory to explain this phenomenon and catapulted the term “disruptive innovation” into the popular business lexicon.
Source: Is Disruptive Innovation Driving K-12 Privatization? – Education Next : Education Next
By Claudio Sanchez
The new federal education law is supposed to return to the states greater control over their public schools.
But judging from the mood recently at the annual conference of the Education Commission of the States, the states are anything but optimistic about the future, or about the new law.
The apprehension reminded me of the 1989 education summit convened by President George H.W. Bush. Back then the goal was to persuade governors to adopt a set of national education goals. All but a couple of states bought into the idea of “systemic change” with support from the federal government.
Source: On Education, The States Ask: Now What? : NPR Ed : NPR
By Ashley Hopkinson
In the midst of a statewide teacher shortage, the new California state budget includes $5 million to address a shortfall of bilingual teachers, a shortage a new study concludes will continue following the passage of Proposition 58 and the expected growth of bilingual programs.
The new state law, in effect on July 1, lifted an almost 20-year ban on bilingual education and gives districts more flexibility to offer bilingual classes to all students. Under the old law English learners had to be taught in English, unless a parent signed a waiver to enroll their child in bilingual or dual language programs — classrooms where students are taught in English and another language such as Mandarin or Spanish. The goal is learning to read, write and speak in both languages.
The change came about because of Proposition 58, which voters approved last year by a vote of 73.5 percent to 26.5 percent. It implements the California Multilingual Education Act of 2016 and allows public schools to teach English learners and all students through multiple programs.
Source: New funds available to train bilingual teachers in California | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
Like so many California school districts in summertime, with their 2017-18 LCAPs and budgets sent to county offices of education, Fairfield-Suisun Unified has posted a relatively light agenda for its Thursday meeting in Fairfield.
Trustees will hear several presentations at the outset, including a report, delivered by students, about the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) camp at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Under the consent calendar, items typically approved in one collective vote, governing board members will OK a $1.13 million contract with the state Department of Education for child development services.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun leaders to consider budget
By Richard Bammer
With new LCAPs and annual budgets sent to county offices of education, California school districts tend to face light midsummer agendas in July and August and that will be the case Thursday, when Vacaville Unified leaders meet.
In what likely will be a short meeting, concerned mostly with financial matters, trustees are expected to approve a revised 2017-18 salary schedule for classified, or school-suppport, managers, an unrepresented employee group that ranges from custodial manager and public information officer to director of maintenance and technology coordinator, with monthly pay, depending on which of five steps they fall under, that ranges from (all Step 1, or beginning, salaries, for example) $5,340 and $7,524 to $8,925 and $9,167.
There was no indication in agenda documents about why the salary scheduled was revised.
Source: Vacaville school trustees face light agenda Thursday
By Ryan McCarthy
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation by Assemblyman Jim Frazier allowing school districts to pay for student field trips to other states – a measure spurred by Fairfield-Suisun School District students competing in a robotics event in Kentucky.
“I thank Fairfield-Suisun School District for bringing the need for this legislation to my attention,” Frazier said in a press release.
“School districts have been explicitly prohibited from using funds to help students participate in field trips or educational excursions out of state,” said Frazier, D-Discovery Bay. “AB 341 changes this, allowing schools to use district funds to enhance educational opportunities by increasing access to student resources.”
Source: Fairfield-Suisun schools spur state law to pay for student field trips
By John Fensterwald
With only two meetings left before a mid-September deadline, the State Board of Education is feeling the heat to make progress on the state plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Two of the unsettled issues the board will delve into this week are the criteria for choosing the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools needing assistance and a framework for a coherent system of oversight and assistance in a state with nearly 1,000 school districts and more than 10,000 schools.
In lengthy letters, civil rights and advocacy groups in particular criticized the school selection methodology as seriously flawed. They also called for more details on how assistance would work, who’d provide it and for clearer expectations and benchmarks of progress. A lot of changes are needed in the next 60 days, before submission to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, to make a credible plan, they said.
Source: State board faces deadline, tough decisions on new federal law for improving schools | EdSource
By Nick Sestanovich
The Summer Reading Program is back at the Benicia Public Library. Once again, children are encouraged to not let their minds wander over the summer and spend the season reading.Returning this year is the Bingo game, in which students fill squares after reading certain books and performing certain activities like making a joke book, attending the farmers market, going to a Movie in the Park or go to a children’s program at the library. Once they get a “Bingo,” they can bring their cards to the library and receive prizes. This challenge will run through Thursday, Aug. 31. The Summer Reading Program is open for children through the age of 13.
In addition to the reading challenge, the library will host fun weekly events for specific age groups. Preschoolers and kindergarteners through third-graders will enjoy the Caterpillar Puppets’ “Beto the Builder” show on July 11, a bubble show by the Bubble Lady on July 18, and songs and stories with Musical Robot on July 25. All shows for this age group are Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
Source: Summer Reading Program, other children’s events return to library
By Richard Bammer
Dixon Unified’s Measure Q Citizens Bond Oversight Committee will meet in Wednesday in Dixon.
Members will hear an overview of existing bond projects from John Calise, the rural school district’s director of facilities and operations.
They also will hear from a guest speaker Anton Jungherr on organizational guidance.
Gary Riddle, a committee member, will offer a report and the committee may take action, according to agenda documents.
Calise will present information about the committee’s website content.
Source: Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee to meet
By Ryan McCarthy
A request to dedicate a bench in front of the Armijo High School library in honor of Andrew Lucas, a student who died in a 2015 car crash along Waterman Boulevard, returns to Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees when they meet Thursday.
Trustees received the request as an information item at their June 22 meeting and can act Thursday.
Lucas’ friends created the club called “Andrew’s Bookshelf” that sends high school students to elementary schools to read to students. The club wants to place a bench in front of the library – Lucas’ favorite place on campus – to honor their friend, the request states.
Source: Request for ‘Andrew’s Bookshelf’ bench back before Fairfield-Suisun trustees
By Ryan McCarthy
Six trips to recruit teachers cost the Fairfield-Suisun School District $25,419, says a report that goes before the school board Thursday.
School district staff traveled in March and April to New Mexico, Michigan, Oregon, Montana and twice to Colorado for teacher recruitment fairs.Other
Other out-of-state travel includes a $9,470 trip by four employees from the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School to attend the Commission on Adult Basic Education Conference held April 2-5 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Source: Teacher recruitment trips cost $25,419 for Fairfield-Suisun School District
Summer vacation is underway, but a new school year is right around the corner.
Consider that classes begin Aug. 9 in Dixon Unified, Aug. 17 for Vacaville Unified, Aug. 21 for Vacaville Christian Schools, and Aug. 23 for Travis Unified.
But for local foster children who might be headed to a new school, this time of year can bring concern about fitting in and keeping up academically. Having the necessary school supplies can help ease their worry and allow them to focus on learning.
To that end, Mattress Firm, the mattress chain store with two outlets in Vacaville, is hosting, through Aug. 27, its School Supply Drive for Foster Kids, offering a simple template for the community to donate, a corporate spokesman said in a press release.
Source: Mattress company begins school supplies drive for foster youth
By Richard Bammer
Jerry Eaton, a Vanden High teacher and a former Vacaville Unified trustee, has been re-elected to a three-year term as a California Teachers Association board member, The Reporter has learned.
Eaton, formerly a Vacaville resident who now lives in Ukiah, started his latest term on June 26, representing 105 teachers unions with 11,000 educators in the CTA’s sprawling District A, which stretches from San Francisco northward along the coast to the Oregon border, a nine-county area that includes Solano.
Just returned from the annual National Education Association representative assembly in Boston, Eaton, in a telephone interview Friday, said, as a CTA board member, he mostly deals with “governance issues, bylaws and (CTA) board meetings” in Burlingame.
Source: Former Vacan re-elected to CTA board of directors